Petals and Postings has been open for 36 years, we love our city. And we love our creatives. In honor of all of the local artists and entrepreneurs we’ve worked with over the years, we will be doing a new monthly blog series, each post featuring a local artist whose creations are sold/have been sold at our shop on the downtown mall.
And this is the first installment! Aren’t you lucky to have jumped on the bandwagon right at the beginning?! Yes. You are lucky. Because our first featured artist is an incredible young woman. Entrepreneur, illustrator, researcher, plant expert extraordinaire Maia Hausler, founding owner and creator of Wander & Gather.
Put simply: If you’re a plant nerd, you’ll love Wander & Gather. Greeting cards, postcards, prints, canvas totes—all illustrations of natural Michigan. Hausler’s illustrations are vibrant and textured. Detailed in an idiosyncratic way—presenting the sharpness of the exact moment in which the subject was first seen, combined with the haziness/impreciseness of recollecting that moment in order to render it on paper. In my opinion, that’s why so many of her illustrations have such stunning contrast. The balance between attention to detail and, “No limits, just life.” as Hausler states, is quintessential Michigan aesthetic!
The following is a short interview with Hausler, for your reading pleasure!
1. What was the first card you made and when?
The greeting cards actually came to me through a series of fortunate events. I never set out to create a greeting card line, I began developing it because friends and family asked me to do some for them. It grew from there. My first card design was originally done as an illustration for a Seed Savers Exchange contest.
At the time (summer 2014) I was living in Europe working on farmland traveling. My dad, who is also an artist, had given me a small travel watercolor set and a book of blank postcards for painting on. When the contest presented itself it was the only means I had of creating the illustrations, so I went with it. I had not worked much in watercolor before that. It was my dad’s medium and I think I felt a need to be different from him.
The first illustration I did in my current style was of nasturtiums. There isn’t a card design of this first work.
I loved the results and continued to work in this style the remainder of my time in Europe, sending postcards of the work home. My first few cards were all of edible greens in bloom. I was inspired by what I was seeing working all day on the farm. Once I had returned to the US family and friends who had received postcards of my work kept asking me to turn them into cards they could send to friends, so I did. The business grew from there. The first series I printed was the series of six edible greens in bloom: spinach, tatsoi, kale, chard, arugula, and lettuce.
I find the flowers of these plants incredibly beautiful. They have more to offer than just a tasty treat.
2. What is your favorite card?
The blueberry card. I love the way it looks, but I’m also a blueberry fiend. My parents once thought a raccoon had gotten into all of the bushes in our yard over night. But really I had just gone and cleaned off all the bushes myself.
3. Where do you hope to see your business in 5 years, 10?
When I started Wander and Gather I had no idea it would ever get to where its at today. So, my vision for it is likely too small. I hope in 5-10 years it has grown to the point where Wander & Gather cards are carried in shops outside of Michigan. But most of my dreams for Wander & Gather are about new card designs! I might not be the best businesswoman, but for me, creating beautiful cards and having them out in the world for people to enjoy is all I really think about as far as the future is concerned. I have list upon list of ideas for new work, and they just keep getting longer.
4. Who has been the most influential person in showing you what’s what in the card design business?
My father has been the most influential to the art aspect of creating cards. Not only did he give me the tools to create the first design, he also taught me how to paint. I’m not sure I would be an artist if it wasn’t for his influence when I was growing up. He also instilled in me my love of plants, always pointing them out when we would go on hikes or camping trips.
As far as the business aspects are concerned, trial and error have been my best teachers. I’ve had plenty of sage advice from friends, but mostly I’ve learned by just jumping in and doing things wrong. I think there is a lot of value in making mistakes. Often, mistakes have taken me down new paths that prove invaluable.
Sometimes a handwritten card or letter can mean far more than you realize—especially with moms. Mother’s Day should celebrate all of those women in our lives who’ve gone out of their way to nurture, mentor, and open doors for us! Personally, I’ve been lucky to have had many different ‘mothers’ in my life. Role-models, thesis advisors, bosses—you get the idea.
Drop a line! Sometimes a handwritten card or letter can mean far more than you realize—especially to those who have given us so much. Having trouble finding the right words? It useful to begin by asking yourself what you would find meaningful in a handwritten letter! Here are a few unique writing prompts/ideas for writing your mom/grandmother/mentor the ‘mother’ of all Mother’s Day cards:
What’s your favorite memory of your mother/mentor/role model? Describe it in detail and then explore why it’s your favorite memory and how it helped you grow.
Try writing about the ways in which you see yourself in your mother/mentor—positive things. Then, if writing to the person who raised you, describe the ways in which you see your mother in your grandmother! Grandmothers are super important!!!
Write a gratitude list! Doesn’t have to be too fancy or complicated—just try to be specific about the things your grateful for!
Cards! Cards! Cards galore! Visit us in person at our shop in Downtown Kalamazoo! We’d love to assist you in your quest to honor the awesome mother figure in your life—also available online! 🙂
P.S. Check out this awesome Mother’s Day playlist from SoulPancake on YouTube!